The Best of Barrett-Jackson 2012

This week is the world-famous Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction is the premier classic and rare car auction in the world. It’s the sort of thing that rich people go to for buying new status symbols and where real men go to drool over what basically is automotive erotica. It’s basically a week-long celebration of the car where gearheads are king. So to celebrate the year’s biggest car show where the cars and not the manufacturers are the stars, here are ten of my favourite cars from this week’s auction.

1955 Ford Crown Victoria (Lot 50)
Long before it was the thing you least wanted to see in your rearview mirror, the Crown Victoria was a trim level on full-size Ford sedans. The Fairlane was the top trim level while the Crown Victoria was above the normal Victoria trim level. This particular example has a good number of original parts, including the original air conditioner which was the first factory installed air conditioner, and has only 38,000 original miles on the clock.

2001 Chevrolet Custom Van (Lot 356.1)
Why would I call a relatively late-model custom Chevy van one of the best cars going on the block at Scottsdale? This one is a completely custom job for recently retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. The van was custom-built for Shaq’s Hawaiian vacations. It has custom wheels, a Louis Vitton interior, captain’s chairs for everyone, a DVD entertainment system (complete with XBox), custom sound system and an HD video projector built into the front of the dashboard to project out the front windshield. In short, this van has a better entertainment setup than my house… And it’s a van.

1981 Chevrolet Corvette (Lot 621)
The third generation (C3) Corvette was produced for 15 years from 1968 to 1983. There was a little hitch in the production of this generation because production shifted from St. Louis to Bowling Green after the 1981 model year. That makes this ‘Vette one of the last St. Louis Corvettes. It’s also a bit on the rare side with a 4-speed manual tied to the 350 c.i. V8 and the two-tone paint. There are some points off for having to be repaired after an accident in 2005 and having an aftermarket suspension. That makes this one a likely target for bargain shoppers… Well, as much of a bargain that you can get at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale.

1965 Shelby Cobra (Lot 727)
It’s called a 1965 Cobra but it’s actually a modern Cobra that was built by Shelby American to the same specs at the ’65 Cobra but using modern parts and methods. The improvements include stronger steel and metal alloys used in construction, better cooling, better heat shielding, better brakes, better suspension and a modern 5-speed gearbox. The 427 c.i. Ford V8 engine is constructed with a cast iron block like it was in the ’60s. Also, this was a special construction project for Shelby which means that this could be a high-priced buy when it crosses the block.

1934 Packard 8 Series II (Lot 960.1)
It’s hard to come by information on the standard Packard 8 on the internet. Then again, it’s hard to come by information on Packard in general which is probably a good indication that it belongs in a collector car auction. This particular 8 is part of a collection so it’s been well maintained and hasn’t been run into the ground at any point in the recent past. It’s also a concourse champion having recently won the National First Place prize from the Antique Automobile Club of America.

1967 Jaguar XKE Roadster (Lot 1241.1)
Don’t know the name but recognize the picture? That’s because what was called the XK-E in America was known as the E-Type everywhere else. The ’67 E-Type was the last of the iconic Series I E-Types before the transitional (and unofficial) Series 1.5. This one has been restored as needed by the original owner who did like to take this one out for a drive from time to time. Who can blame him? I’d go out for a spin regularly in my E-Type if I owned one. There are some new replacement parts in the drivetrain and suspension of this thing but the body is still the original from the factory. After all, as long as this E-Type still looks like the best-looking car ever built, it’s a proper E-Type.

1969 Dodge Charger 2 Door (Lot 1291)
I don’t think I have to tell you that this orange Charger with the 01 on the sides and Stars And Bars on the roof is the General Lee. What you may not know is that this is the original General Lee refered to as “Lee 1.” This car is seen in every episode because it made the jump over Rosco’s cruiser in the first episode which is seen at the end of the opening credits. The car was recovered from an Atlanta junkyard and given a complete restoration over the course of 16 months. Even I’m thinking about putting in a bid on this one.

1964 Cadillac Hearse (Lot 1293)
Of all the cars that Barrett-Jackson will sell this year, I don’t think there will be another one that’s as historically significant as this one. This hearse took the body of John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy from Parkland Memorial Hospital to Air Force One at Love Field airport for the flight to Washington for his state funeral. The history of this car speaks for itself. It will be more interesting to see who buys it rather than how much it’s sold for. This could easily be a museum piece but someone could see it as the highlight piece of their car collection.

1970 Plymouth Barricuda AAR (Lot 1554.1)
The AAR Cuda was a special edition Barricuda was the street version of the All American Racers’ Trans-Am race car. Neither the racing Cuda nor the street AAR had the Hemi V8 but the 340 c.i. six-pack (three two-barrel carbs) V8. Apparently this Cuda is only one of five AARs in Lemon Twist yellow with the 3-speed automatic. The seller also says it’s well completely documented and still mostly original. I’m not a Mopar guy but there’s generally complaints that I lack them in these posts. I trust I’ve made up for that this time out.

2010 Dodge Charger NASCAR Nationwide Series Race Car (Lot 3020)
It’s never been a secret that I love putting race cars in these posts. This one is a bit different from the rest because it has a winning pedigree. This is the #22 Dodge of 2010 NNS champion Brad Keselowski. This particular chassis won the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega from the 23rd starting spot. Unlike some of these race cars, all the parts needed to make it run are included, even the engine.

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